Instructions for this assignment is attached in the copy below
Excerpts from The Gospel of Mark
New Revised Standard Version translation
The Gospel of Mark is the second gospel in the New Testament, but probably the earliest
gospel in terms of the date of its composition. Scholars came to the conclusion that the Gospel of
Mark was written in the early 70s of the first century (about 40 years after Jesus’s death), and
that the authors of the gospels of Matthew and Luke actually used it when they wrote their
gospels. None of the authors of the gospels actually knew Jesus (who lived approximately
between 4 BCE and 33 CE) personally. What they wrote was based on stories that circulated
among disciples of Jesus decades later. The gospels (like the rest of the books in the New
Testament) were written in Greek.
The word gospel is a translation of the Greek word evangelion which means “good news.” The
gospels were meant to spread the “good news” of Jesus’s arrival and the salvation he made
available for humankind to as many people and possible. The Gospel of Mark, and likewise the
gospels of Matthew and Luke, are essentially biographies of Jesus: they describe his activities
while alive (preaching, healing, performing miracles, assembling disciples), his trial and death
by crucifixion, and his appearance to his disciples after his death (=his resurrection). The Gospel
of Mark is the shortest gospel, and you will notice that we are not told anything about Jesus’s
family origins or birth in this gospel. Jesus’s first appearance is as an adult who is baptized by a
mysterious prophet-like person named John the Baptizer (or Baptist).
The Gospel of Mark is unique because it has three different endings. In the earliest manuscript
of the New Testament the gospel ends with the women seeing Jesus’s tomb empty (Mark 16:8),
and this was probably the original ending. Later on, two alternative endings were composed,
one short and one long, and different Bibles have different versions.
The events described in the gospels all take place in Judea, a Roman province on the eastern
shore of the Mediterranean (modern day Israel/Palestine), whose population was mostly Jewish
(including Jesus himself and all his disciples). Most of Jesus’s activity took place in the Galilee
(the northern part of the country, see map), but his trial and death took place in Jerusalem, the
capital city in which the Jewish temple was located.
The Proclamation of John the Baptist
1 The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
2 As it is written in the prophet Isaiah,
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